By boat from Portmuck or Ballylumford Harbour, head towards Hunter’s Rock, look out for yellow marker buoys attached to the bow of the wreck (these will only appear at slack water). Enter the water at the shallowest point of the Hunters Rock pinnacle and follow the slope down either side (depending on whether you are diving the bow or stern end).
Portmuck Harbour provides free car parking, a slipway and public toilets. The pier is 25 metres long, 6.5 metres wide and in good condition.
Free parking, a slipway, public toilets and outdoor changing facilities are available at Ballylumford Harbour as well (access to slipway restricted to Islandmagee Boat Club members; email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Nearest tank filling is DV Diving, Mount Stewart, Newtownards.
- Buoys attached to the bow of the wreck and several lobster pots usually in the vicinity.
- Port of Larne can be busy, contact harbour master on VHF 11 to get permission to exit/enter port.
- Be aware of ferry traffic (site is located very close to the Larne to Cairnryan ferry lane) and commercial fishing boats.
A great dive located off Hunters Rock. The wreck lies on her port side and is broken into three sections either side of Hunters Rock, with the bow side to the SW (see seperate site page for State of Louisiana Stern end which lies to the NE of Hunters Rock). The wreck is starting to deteriorate although the ribs and boilers are still very easily distinguished. The surrounding seabed is comprised of sand and pebbles. Both parts of the wreck can be explored in one dive but given the short tidal window, it is recommended to split this into two seperate dives to allow more time on each part of the wreck. The stern is a better dive, with plenty to see, as opposed to the bow which is quite small, once you have seen it, you can return to midships and make ascent.
Date of loss 24/12/1878. This 1,216 n.t. British Steamship of Glasgow stranded and was a total loss. The captain, W. McGowan, 49 crew members and 17 passengers were all saved. The vessel was built in 1873, and was owned by The State Steamship Co. Ltd., Glasgow. Its voyage was from Glasgow to New York carrying a general cargo. The officers were exonerated at the Inquiry.
(Sources: CSP 1880 Vol. 66, p.131 and p.168; WA F117). CSP (Commons Sessional Papers); WA (Wilson Archive)
Information derived from Historic Environment Record of Northern Ireland (HERoNI), Department for Communities, Historic Environment Division.
- In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.
- Follow VHF radio Channel 16 (156.8 MHz), the international distress frequency. Send a distress alert followed by ‘MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY’ and ‘This is [boat name]’.
- Find nearest defibrillator (AED) here.
- Portmuck/Ballylumford Harbour: 028 9336 6666